God’s Timing is Very Evident to Paul

A converted Hindu who had been given a Bible and a clock said, “The clock will tell me how time goes, and the Bible will tell me how to spend it..” (Anonymous)

Timing

The chief captain did not want to have to explain to his superior the assassination of a Roman citizen in his charge. Taking no chances, he summoned two hundred foot soldiers, seventy cavalry, and another two hundred artillerymen to see that Paul had a safe exodus from Jerusalem (v. 23). God was seeing to it that His apostle got to Rome safely (v. 24). The chief captain also sent along a letter to Felix, stating his belief in Paul’s innocence as far as the Roman law was concerned (vv. 25-30).

This great company of soldiers left at nine o’clock at night (v. 23). The city gates would have been opened to let them through and then closed again, making it virtually impossible for a pursuit to take place until the gates were opened again in the morning, and by that time Paul would be safely in Caesarea. You can imagine the disappointment of these about to be assassins as this strong force protecting Paul sped out of sight, heading for the Roman capital. The soldiers took him on the first leg of his journey, as far as Antipatris, a small town in the plains of Sharon about forty miles from Jerusalem and some twenty-five miles south of Caesarea (v. 31). Now that the main danger was passed, the infantry turned back to Jerusalem, and only the cavalry went on to Caesarea with Paul (v. 32).

When they came to Caesarea, they gave the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him (v.33). The governor read the letter. Then he asked Paul and found out that he was from Cilicia (v. 34). Paul was now in the hands of Felix, who had ruled the country in a very cruel and treacherous manner for seven years. He was a man of lowly origin, and owed his high rank to the influence of his brother Pallas, who had been in Rome during the reign of Claudius. This was the man in whose hands the future of Paul now rested. Felix prudently, and rightly, decided to defer Paul’s case until the accusers from Jerusalem came to press charges (v. 35). As it turned out Paul stayed here for two years as a prisoner while his case was in limbo.

Application

Is there a reason that God has placed me and my family in our particular community at this time? Am I taking advantage of where God has placed me? Ask each member of my family if they think they are taking advantage of their situation.

Acts 23:23-35 (English Standard Version)

Then he called two of the centurions and said, "Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor." And he wrote a letter to this effect: "Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him." So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, "I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive." And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's praetorium.

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